This September was the first in 16 years that I did not walk into a classroom. Below is what I shared on social media:
I always thought that I would be a music teacher for life. However, sometimes an opportunity comes along that is too good to pass up. I was recently offered and accepted an incredible opportunity to join the Education team at Hal Leonard. I have used their products since I was a kid, and I am honored to join their team. I am also looking forward to continuing to work with the community of music educators around the world, and thankful that I can do most of it from our home base here in Rochester.
I am looking forward to playing more music, teaching more drums, and spending more time with my family. I am grateful for my experiences teaching in public schools, and there are surely many people with whom I hope to keep in touch. It is wild to me that I won’t be heading back to school in September, but I am really looking forward to this new adventure. I am lucky to have someone like Sarah in my life, who gives me endless support and is always with me 100%.
I wish I could tell you that it was a hard decision, but it was not. I loved a lot of things about teaching, especially being able to help students and teachers progress in their musical journey. Working for Hal will allow me to do that on a much larger scale.
I wish I could tell you that it was something I planned for, but it was not. I had never imagined leaving teaching, but I also never expected to get this job. I didn’t even get nervous for the interview, because I didn’t know what to be nervous about.
I wish I could tell you that everything is perfect now, but it is not. I can say that my work/life balance is much better. I am playing more music than ever before. I am seeing my family, and playing an active role in my kids’ lives. I am learning a completely new job, and stumbling some. I really enjoy the folks I work with, and love being on a team where everyone wants to make progress at a similar rate.
I have also learned some lessons through this process. Firstly, sometimes the current situation can force your hand. Things changed a lot with my job as a teacher over the past two years, and it caused me to consider the alternatives. Had we not been open to exploring every opportunity, I never would have made the change. Second, I realized that its never too late to make a change if it feels right. I expected to be where I was forever, partly because I am 38 years old and I thought it too late to change horses, but I was wrong. Finally, and most importantly, being able to spend time with my wife and kids, and being the best version of myself during that time is incredibly important to me.
I don’t know what will happen next, but I am learning to try to not make too many binding plans. Things could change again, and it is important to be ready for that possibility. For now, I am excited for the future.